Sunday, April 3, 2011

Irish Mountain /
Pound Swamp Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York


Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail (S-BM): Yellow Blaze
Bushwacks and unmarked trails

Total Time:
1:50 hr
Estimated Distance: 3.65 Miles

This hike involved several bushwacks and unmarked trails, but overall is a very good and highly recommended hike. I parked on Gate Hill Road by the S-BM trailhead, and headed north up toward Irish Mountain where the Irish Potato sits. The Irish Potato is a very large rock just sitting above the ground on the top of the mountain. It is too large to climb on top of.

From the Irish Potato continued along the S-BM and skirted along the Upper Pound Swamp, and then when the S-BM turns to descend Pound Swamp Mountain, I veered off on a bushwack towards the summit of this mountain. There is no trail up this mountain, so the only way to get to the top is by bushwack. At the very top sits a small rock which can be climbed upon, though there isn't really a good viewpoint. I suppose that had I traveled further along the mountain towards the northeast I would hit a good viewpoint of the notch where the Palisades Parkway travels through, though I will leave that hike for another time.

From the summit bushwacked down the steep side straight towards the dam of the Upper Pound Swamp. Though this is called a swamp it is really a pond or small lake. It is interesting in that it is naturally dammed by beavers, as is evidenced by the beaver-chopped trees around its edges and the beautiful natural beaver dam. I find this to be one of the most beautiful lakes within the Harriman confines.

From the Upper Pound Swamp, continued along the unmarked trail, which used to be some sort of road, up the hill towards the ruin. I veered slightly off the path the view the ruin, which I have no idea what it is or when it had functioned. (If anyone has any knowledge on this ruin, please feel free to comment. All that is listed in the Trail Conference maps is "ruin".) Continued down the old road path until Gate Hill Drive, and then walked along the side of the road all the way back to the trailhead. There is a nice cascade along the southern side of the road where the Minisceongo Creek drops through the escarpment.

Map of the Route - Harriman State Park
The Irish Potato atop Irish Mountain
Rock at the summit of Pound Swamp Mountain
Near Pound Swamp Mountain before descending the bushwack
to the Upper Pound Swamp.
Nice picture of the Upper Pound Swamp
As you can see, it looks more like a small lake then a swamp.

Shoreline of the upper Pound Swamp with trees being gnawed by beavers
The Natural Beaver Dam that forms
the Upper Pound Swamp.
I crossed along this dam.
Another view of the Upper Pound Swamp and Beaver Dam
The Ruin Along the Unmarked Road.
Its sits atop the hill.
Doorway arch at the ruin.
Minisceongo CreekWaterfall Cascade.


  1. I believe the ruins are of the Rose Redard estate, owned by the family that owned "Red Rose Tea"; the trail down to the road was the driveway at one time. There is another nearby ruin called the "ORAK estate"; that was owned by someone high up in the Karo corn syrup family (ORAK is Karo backwards). It is amazing how many people used to live within the boundaries of what is now Bear Mountain/Harriman state parks. I see you've been to Doodletown; similar settlements existed at Lake Welch (Sandyfield) and Lake Sebago (Johnsontown - probably the largest) - these were mostly covered by the creation of those lakes - as well as Baileytown. Cemeteries for all three are still in existence (though fading away), and many trails or camp roads are the former roads of those settlements.

  2. Thanks for the info, this was very helpful in determining that ruin origin. I have been to the "Orak" ruin (listed in a previous blog post), as well some of the other ruined settlements, and will continue to try to post photos of them as the opportunities provide.

  3. Thanks for the info on those ruins. I was there just this afternoon. I've been to ORAK several times, but when I saw the "Ruins" on the conference map when looking for a new spot to investigate, I had to see what they were about.

  4. Heading up there today as a matter of fact and still searching for the elusive photos and drawings of Buchanan Estate (ORAK) and Rose Redard estate.